Drink Review: Old Crow Reserve

November 22, 2020
2 mins read

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Old Crow Reserve is aged for a full year longer than their standard bottling and bottling at a higher strength of 86 proof.

Old Crow Reserve Review:

EYE: Light amber.

NOSE: Molasses, leather, brown sugar, nutmeg, coffee and a surprising range of spices that aren’t unelaborated nutmeg.

PALATE: Molasses, toasted grain, corn, oak, freshly ground coffee beans, vanilla, allspice, clove and something I can only describe as a rich, warming, oily quality.

FINISH: Longly warm and slightly oily.

BALANCE, BODY & TEXTURE: Smooth with a robust, warming bottom.



BALANCE, BODY &texture: Smooth, robust and hearty

VALUE: Very Good


Old Crow Reserve Review 1:

Aged for an extra year, our Canadian barrel selection of Old Crow Pay Your Respects will be hitting retailers and restaurants in the coming months.

We chose to use the 17 year old barrels rather than the more traditional 20 or 25 year old barrels for this edition, in hopes of gaining some deeper toasty, dried fruit and nut aromas and ambers…and we were not disappointed.

Without a bit of previous experience in the Old Crow Pay Your Respects style, I was expecting a heavier, bourbon profile. As I got closer to the glass, I caught a whiff of most of the spices expected, including an almond biscuit quality in the aroma and a traditional bourbon orange notes that seemed to roll over the palate. I don’t know if they will all be present in the oak barrel draw (we did rotate the barrel twice through the 16 month period of barrel aging) so I can only say I was impressed by the generous use of scents.

The palate was thick and malty, sweet, with a nice bit of toffee, and a solid oak influence. The casks were quite dry and the alcohol was quite noticeable but not overpowering. A clean, snappy finish left me wanting to hit the Old Crow Reserve again.

Old Crow Reserve Review 2:

The nose is complex and far from lean. Rich deep tobaccos and sweet vanilla. It seems the extra aging created a deeper, richer, more complex and long lasting. Nosing the Old Crow Reserve is an experience and just as enjoyable as tasting it.

The palate is also much deeper than the standard Old Crow House Style. The extra 12 months in the wood has allowed for more layers to form and shine through. The roasted grain and sweet, light dried fruit are definitely there. The difference here, is that the extra 12 months has given the sweetness a creamier, richer quality. The Old Crows and the new blended Old Crow Reserve are similar but have developed, slightly.

The balance of the taste is dramatic in both. The standard Old Crow House Style is the lighter of the two. This BA level really is characteristics of the barrel. It is a nice change of flavor and expression between the two.

Old Crow Reserve Review 3:

OldCrow Reserve is a bourbon classic that is aged for a full year longer than their standard bottling and bottling at a higher strength of 86 proof. Much like how the 15 years in Charbay resulted in a slightly sweeter whiskey, the extra aging in solid oak gives the Old Crow Reserve a richer, fruitier, toasty finish.

With a greater barrel selection or experience, this whiskey would easily rival barrel notes of the more expensive whiskeys like the Lynch’s Reserve 15 and the highball of the house The Big House. You can taste the wood influence, the warm, soft buttercream flavor. What you can’t tell, is what it was finished in. And that’s just the point. Can’t say for certain what this casks was filled with, merely one of many. Funny enough, that’s what makes the Whiskey so special.

These slight differences, for example the rustic cask finish of its house style, leaves me with another question. How often does a casks effects a whiskey, as much as the other. That is, a very expensive whiskey might yield a decently pour or a longer, flavorful whiskey. But does the same whiskey taste the same if it was aged in an inexpensive, common or lesser cask? Of course it would, just like its barrel proof. The finest minds such as Port and Sherry need to be used and these casks, they are very special everyday casks used for their quality…used in the smallest way.

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